Munnar and Thekkady have been on my wish list ever since I took on to my first trip to Kerala in 2017. My first trip to South India was to attend a friend’s wedding. On that trip I was able to explore Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Poovar Island, Alappuzha, Kovalam, Kumarakom and Kochi in Kerala. So when I was invited by the Xandari Resorts owned by The Muthoot Group, I was ecstatic to experience their four properties in Kerala. To my luck, one of their properties – Cardamom County is in Thekkady and that is when I got to explore Thekkady for a day. In 24 hours, I experienced the best of Thekkady that included Elephant Shower, Spice Garden amongst other attractions that I will be covering in the next post.
If you want to explore Thekkady to the fullest then you should plan a minimum of two nights and three days trip. The best part about my trip was that Cardamom County is located barely five to ten minutes away from the local attractions hence, it was easier for me to have the time to do everything back to back. My day in Thekaddy was action packed with the things that I have never done before and I will cherish these experiences forever!
The hotel staff – Prabhu suggested that I should begin my day by going to the Spice Garden known as the Green Park Ayurvedic and Spices Plantation. I have never been so interested in looking at the plants so closely to understand how they grow, their properties and the climatic conditions they require to grow in.
The guide – Noushad at the Spice Garden was excellent in making the walk interesting by stating not just the facts but making me guess the spices by touching, smelling and eating them. From spices like Fig, Cinnamon, Cardamon, Cloves to fruits and vegetables such as Bananas, Pineapple, Jackfruit and even everyone’s favourite Cocoa (from which chocolate is made) could be found at the garden.
An interesting impromptu activity at the garden was when Noushad showed me a coconut climbing machine. I could not resist myself from trying my hands on it. It looked easy when Noushad climbed on it first to demonstrate it but once I got on to the machine I realised that it required a lot of strength to climb up and then come down. Nevertheless, it was fun to just climb on the machine and go a couple of steps up on the tree.
After walking for almost an hour and forty minutes, he took me to the tree house where the path was an unusual one. There were a fleet of staircase one has to climb to reach the bridge made from wires which was shaky at all times and scary too! Reaching the end of the bridge lies the tree house which you can book at INR 3000 per night with three meals included. It is a pretty good deal and the view from the top is worth staying at this place especially if you are in Thekkady for your honeymoon.
The Spice Garden also houses a shop where you can pick spices, oils and other souvenirs to take back home with you. I picked up a couple of dry herbs which when mixed with oil can be used for head massage. I was also keen on buying a lemon grass sapling to take back home and Noushad was kind enough to just give it to me without taking any money for it.
The entry fee for spice garden is Rs.200 per person. The reason you should visit Green Park Ayurvedic and Spices Plantation and not others is because here the walk is for close two hours and is an interesting one where you do not get to keep a track of the time(one is so engrossed in knowing the medicinal value of the spices and guessing that time literally flies here). This place also grows more spices than other spice gardens and most importantly Noushad is a fantastic guide to show you around and even give you your favourite sapling to take back home!
The next stop was Elephant Junction where I took a 20 minute long Elephant ride. The path of the Elephant was surrounded with trees and it was a beautiful and comfortable ride. After the ride, I was escorted to a small place where an Elephant was lying in the water and was relaxing with closed eyes. I got inside the water that was up till my ankle and started splashing water and scrubbing the not so little baby.
Once I was done bathing the Elephant, the owner of the junction asked me to sit on the Elephant. Within seconds, I heard the owner give a command in Malayalam to the Elephant and before I could ask him to translate the command in English, the Elephant had poured a lot of water on me with his trunk! I was laughing and screaming at the same time. The Elephant showered me three to four times and every time it felt amazing. One needs to shell out INR 1200 for a package that includes Elephant ride, bathing and feeding at the Elephant Junction.
This was definitely the highlight of my day. The day did not end here. To know what I did next read – The Best Of Thekkady | Kalaripayattu, Kumily and The Periyar National Park.
I made the most of my trip to Thekaddy and that was all possible because of Cardamom County, Xandari Resorts. In April 2018, Xandari Resorts invited me to review their stunning properties and warm hospitality.